Yes, the sun is finally out, so let’s go and enjoy it!

Here’s our list of fun things to do in May that are really free! (And really fun.)


The Queen Mary’s historic Observation Bar, featuring its Art Deco lounge, reopened to the public on Friday, May 19, 2023, in Long Beach. (Photo by Howard Freshman, Contributing Photographer)

The Queen Mary, Long Beach (Tuesdays): Enjoy free ship admission on Tuesdays in May during the “Meet me at the Mary” special events. Happy hour only, from 4 to 8 p.m. (Parking is $10). Head to the beautiful Art Deco Observation Bar for live music and drink specials. Also, specials on dining and lodging. Really, this is a cool deal. Reservations will let you cut the line. Bring a sweater; it’s chilly on the water.

Discovery Days at Centennial Farm, Costa Mesa (May 1, 16 and 20, 9 a.m. to noon): Fun things to do at this 3-acre demonstration farm, which is also open most days. On Discovery Days, volunteers are available for self-guided tours, kids can plant radishes, learn about baby chicks, see an oxen demonstration and view livestock. Reservations required for 10 or more people. Free parking. 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa 

Big crowds turn out on day three of LA Fleet Week on Sunday, May 28, 2023, in San Pedro. (Photo by Howard Freshman, Contributing Photographer)

LA Fleet Week, Port of Los Angeles (May 24-27): Here’s your chance to board real Navy ships in port on this annual Memorial Day weekend event. Active duty ship tours, military displays, weapons, military bands, aircraft flyovers and family fun in San Pedro, Wilmington and more. Comfortable, closed-toes shoes are recommended. No reservations required, but I’d get there darn early. Main expo is at 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro

The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach has free admission on Sundays. (Photo by David Allen, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA), Long Beach (Sundays): The museum is free every Sunday and always has interesting exhibits. Free docent-led tours are offered at 2 p.m. Sundays. Exhibits are always open on Sundays, but free tickets are recommended and can be booked online. Parking is free. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach.

The Autry Museum of the American West has free admission the second Tuesday of each month. (Photo by Richard Vogel, The Associated Press)

Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles (Tuesdays and Wednesdays): The Autry is free every Tuesday and Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. but reservations are required and limited.. Parking is free, too. Learn about Native American and cowboy ways of life, using historical artifacts such as stagecoaches, serapes, beaded clothing, firearms, photos and more. 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is free for all on the second Tuesday of the month and free to L.A. County residents every day after 3 p.m.. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Los Angeles (May 14): Free to all on the second Tuesday of the month, free to L.A. County residents every day after 3 p.m. The largest art museum complex on the West Coast, this collection includes everything from David Hockney paintings to ancient artifacts to free arts workshops. (Note that part of the museum is currently under construction.) Children 17 and under who live in L.A. County can sign up for the NexGen program, where they can get in free any day and bring one person with them. Bank of America cardholders get in free the first full weekend of every month. (Only the cardholder.) Paid parking is nearby, beware of street parking in the afternoon — you could be towed. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles

The Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo will have a free event featuring classic and custom cars on March 23. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum, El Segundo (9 a.m. to noon, May 11): Classic car meet dubbed the “Net Cruze Cars and Coffee.” Free. It features original and custom cars from the 1930s to the 1950s. Coffee, pastries, food truck and raffle. Open to all. 610 Lairport St., El Segundo.


Abhi Arora, CEO of Healing Gardens, visits Arlington Garden in Pasadena on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Arlington Garden. Pasadena. This is the only free public garden in Pasadena, located on three acres originally slated to become part of a freeway extension that was never built. It’s open every day during daylight hours and features Mediterranean, desert and scrub oak landscaping. It started as a patch of dirt in 2005, and now is a haven for birds, bees, butterflies and people who enjoy nature. Wooden benches are scattered around the site for relaxation. Location: 275 Arlington Drive, Pasadena. 626-578-5434 or

A pedestrian walking past the Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

The Broad. Los Angeles. Open Tuesdays-Sundays. This modern art museum is always free, but you should really get advance tickets to avoid the long walk-up line. This museum in downtown L.A. features contemporary art from the collection of developer Eli Broad. IThe general collection is always free to view. Some same-day tickets are released daily, so check online early. There’s a parking garage that charges a few bucks, though if you’re lucky you might find free street parking on Sundays. Closed Mondays. Location: 221 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. 213-232-6250 or

The California Citrus State Historic Park in Riverside, seen July 21, 2022 (File photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

California Citrus State Historical Park, Riverside. Learn about the era when citrus was king in Southern California, visit the 200 acres of groves that produce navel and Valencia oranges, grapefruits, and lemons and stop by the museum visitor center. Bring a picnic! Tables are available. Hiking and biking trails are available. Citrus tastings are sometimes available. The visitor center and museum is open Fridays through Sundays. Parking is $7. 9400 Dufferin Ave., Riverside. 951-780-6222 OR

From left, Emily Senac, three-year-old Jordan Senac and Jason Senac admire the Kelp Forest exhibit at the California Science Center (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

California Science Center, Los Angeles. Open daily. This fascinating museum in L.A.’s Exposition Park is free to visit and chock full of things to see. Kids love this place but so do adults. All permanent exhibits are free, but there’s an extra charge for the IMAX theater shows and some attractions. Note that the space shuttle Endeavor is temporarily off exhibit. Parking at Exposition Park is $15, or you can ride the Metro. 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles.

Cave of Munits. West Hills. Always open. Ready to get outdoors? Why not hike to an interesting cave, just a short drive from town? This trail in the Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve begins as a nice stroll but results in some real rock scrambling into the cave, so watch the youngsters. This chimney cave was reportedly the home of a powerful Chumash Indian shaman. Wear sneakers or hiking boots. Head to El Escorpion Park and park there. There’s a short, steep hike or a longer more leisurely one, depending on your druthers. 24501 West Vanowen Street, West Hills.

A 1937 Nativity stained glass window that was displayed at Forest Lawn-Glendale. (File photo by Tina Burch/Los Angeles Daily News)

Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Glendale. Open daily. This cemetery built in 1906 — the first to call itself a “memorial park” — changed the way people have been buried ever since. Millions of people have visited its fountains, architecture and replicas of great world art such as Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” There’s even a museum open Tuesdays through Sundays. Celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Walt Disney have been laid to rest here. Stop at the information kiosk at the entrance. (Note that other Forest Lawn locations also have artworks on display) Museum website is 1712 S. Glendale Ave. 888-204-3131 or

Early undated view of the Middle Reservation, Fort MacArthur. (Fort MacArthur Museum)

Fort MacArthur Museum San Pedro. Open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. This interesting bit of military history allows visitors to take a look at underground bunkers and weaponry that were built to protect Los Angeles Harbor from enemy attacks. It was part of the Army coastal defense system from 1914 to 1974. Movies such as “Pearl Harbor,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Private Benjamin,” “Tora! Tora! Tora!” and more have been filmed here.  Note that the Angels Gate Park with its Korean Friendship Bell is nearby. 3601 S. Gaffey St. San Pedro. 310-548-2631 or

A view across the Getty Center’s central garden. ( Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Getty Center  Brentwood. Open Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays). Free but order tickets online. Especially good on clear days when you can see all the way to Catalina. The world’s richest museum offers priceless art treasures, including Van Gogh’s “Irises,” which was the most expensive painting ever sold when the Getty bought it.  The billion-dollar white complex sits atop a hill in West Los Angeles. Kids enjoy riding the free tram to the top from the parking bring your lunch and nonalcoholic drinks. Admission to the Getty is free, but timed admission tickets must be ordered online. Parking costs $20, or $15 after 3 p.m. Active and veteran U.S. military with ID park free. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. or call  310-440-7300.

The Getty Villa Museum in Pacific Palisades reopened on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Getty Villa Museum. Pacific Palisades. Open Wednesdays through Mondays (closed Tuesdays). Order free tickets online. On a spectacular site, this replica of a Roman country house contains the Getty’s collection of old and rare Greek and Roman antiquities. The villa itself is an attraction, with its mosaics, art, gardens and architecture. It’s modeled after the Villa dei Papiri that was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79, which destroyed Pompeii. Picnics are allowed, so bring your lunch and nonalcoholic drinks. Admission is free, but timed admission tickets must be ordered online. Parking costs $20, or $15 after 3 p.m. 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades

Artist Judy Baca at The Great Wall of Los Angeles, the longest mural in the world, during its 2011 restoration in Valley Glen. (File photo by Michael Owen Baker, LA Daily News/SCNG)

The Great Wall of Los Angeles, Valley Glen. Every day. If you like murals, check out this half-mile-long mural near Los Angeles Valley College that tells the history of California — warts and all. Artist and educator Judy Baca designed and spearheaded the project, using volunteer students to complete it. The mural runs along the Tujunga Wash flood control channel near Coldwater Canyon Avenue between Oxnard Street and Burbank Boulevard. The mural began in 1974 when Baca was contacted by the Army Corps. of Engineers who wanted to beautify the flood channel, and it launched what has been described as the longest mural in the world. There’s a walkway to view the mural. Start at Burbank Boulevard to view the mural in chronological order. Open daily. 12920 W. Oxnard St., Valley Glen.

Griffith Observatory sits on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. (File Photo)

Griffith Observatory. Los Angeles. Open Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays). Located in scenic Griffith Park (also free) on top of Mt. Hollywood in the Hollywood Hills, this observatory built in 1935 is always free and well worth seeing. Inside the building are several interesting displays, including an Egyptian sundial and a Foucault pendulum. The planetarium on site offers shows that cost $6-$10. Renovations in 2006 added several new attractions. There’s a memorial monument to actor James Dean, who starred in the movie “Rebel Without a Cause,” which has a climactic scene at the observatory. Look for the Hollywood Sign behind the building. Parking is expensive; park down at the Greek Theatre and walk up, or ride the bus for 50 cents. 2800 East Observatory Road Los Angeles. 213-473-0800 or

Stevan Dohanos, “First Day of School,” Saturday Evening Post illustration, 1944, oil on board. (Courtesy of the Hilbert Museum of California Art)

Hilbert Museum of California Art., Orange. Open Tuesdays-Saturdays (closed Sundays-Mondays). Make a reservation to check out the new expansion of this always-free museum in Old Town Orange, near Chapman University.  216 E. Chapman Ave. Orange. Street parking. or in the city lot in back. 714-516-5880 or

Visitors enter the Granite Hill Nursery & Garden on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, at the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center in Jurupa Valley. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center. Jurupa Valley. Open Saturdays and Sundays only. Museum of Discoveries is free. Wander the botanical garden, turtle pond and see the dinosaur statues. Parking $10. 7621 Granite Hill Drive, Jurupa Valley.

File photo of the Columbian Mammoths, visible in the pond in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles. It’s always free to view the outdoor tar pits in Hancock Park where so many ice age animals became trapped and fossilized for our fascination. But if you live in Los Angeles County, you also get free admission to the museum Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. Just go to the ticket booth and show your ID. There’s a paid parking lot that charges $18 (ouch). If you street park, read all the signage carefully. 5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.

The Museum of Contemporary Art was founded in Los Angeles in 1979.

MOCA, Los Angeles. Open Tuesdays-Sundays (closed Mondays). The Museum of Contemporary Art is free to visit, with advance tickets available online. (Special exhibitsThere are two facilities: A striking sandstone building across from Walt Disney Concert Hall that was designed by a famed architect Arata Isozaki. It’s at 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles.

A couple walk their dog on the wide, paved path at Mount Rubidoux Park in Riverside. (Photo by Kurt Miller, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Mount Rubidoux Park. Riverside. Take a walk along the wide paved trail in this landmark city park, which offers fabulous views and even a historic bridge and tower toward the top. It encompasses 161 acres and includes a giant cross dedicated to Father Serra for those who make it to the summit. On average, it takes around 60-90 minutes to hike the hilly 3.2 mile loop trail. Park at Boniminio Park nearby and use the restroom there. Bring water. 4706 Mount Rubidoux Drive, Riverside, 951-351-6250 or

People look at displays in the Museum of the San Fernando Valley. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker)

Museum of the San Fernando Valley, Northridge. Open Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays only. Founded in 2005, this museum is now located at the historic Rancho Cordillera del Norte in Northridge. Exhibits have included the history of author Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan series, who founded the city of Tarzana, sculptor Henry Van Wolf, the history of “The Hollywood Shorties,” who were actors and stuntmen little people ranging in height from 3-foot-5 to 4-foot-9 who played baseball and basketball games for charity. 18904 Nordhoff St., Northridge. 818-347-9665 or

The interior of the new Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa, CA, on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Morphosis are the architects of the OCMA building. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa. Open Tuesdays-Sundays (closed Mondays). This museum’s newly built permanent home opened to the public in October. It’s located at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and was designed by award-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Studios. The collection includes some 4,500 pieces on rotating exhibit. No tickets or reservations required. 3333 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa. Adjacent paid parking. 714-780-2130 or

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Exposition Park. Do you live in Los Angeles County? If so, you get free admission Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. Just go to the ticket booth and show your ID. K-12 teachers, military, EBT card holders and USC students and employees also get free admission any day. Pay to park. 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles.

People view the Whaling exhibit of the Portuguese Bend at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes. (Photo by Ana P. Garcia, Contributing Photographer)

Point Vicente Interpretive Center, Rancho Palos Verdes. Open every day, this small museum is not only interesting but also located on a gorgeous public point perfect for whale watching. Fine vistas reward the drive out there. It explores the history of the area.  31501 Palos Verdes Drive West, Rancho Palos Verdes.


A flower blooms in the garden at the historic Rancho Los Cerritos adobe in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 14, 2018. (File photo by Scott Varley)

Rancho Los Cerritos, Long Beach. Open Wednesdays-Sundays. This remaining 4.74 acres of one of the huge ranchos that once covered California includes a historic adobe and allows visitors to imagine themselves as early Californios. The “Ranch of the Little Hills” once was part of a 300,000-acre Spanish land grant settled by Spanish soldier Juan Nieto. It eventually became a 27,000-acre working ranch that included two adobes and facilities for his descendants’ family and 12 children. Online reservations are requested but not mandatory. 4600 Virginia Road, Long Beach. 562-206-2040 or

San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum, San Bernardino. Open Saturdays only 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free admission and parking. Interesting compendium of local history. It’s located inside the historic Santa Fe Depot and Metrolink Rail Station 1170 W. Third St., San Bernardino.

12 feet of mast and the climbing stirrups were removed from the Federal Model 2 Outdoor warning vertical siren on display at Norton Air Force Base Museum in San Bernardino on Friday May 20, 2022. (Photo by Milka Soko, Contributing Photographer)

Norton Air Force Base Museum, San Bernardino. Always free, open Thursdays and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Located in the former NCO Club, this small museum tells the history of the base, which trained 30,000 pilots and became a jet aircraft maintenance facility, among other uses. The base closed in 1994. The museum is still looking for donations of historical items. 1601 E. 3rd St. San Bernardino.

The San Pedro Red Trolley is always free. (Photo by Chuck Bennett, Contributing Photographer)

San Pedro Red Trolley, San Pedro. Fridays and first Thursdays of the month only. This old-fashioned trolley line takes visitors on a loop route including the  the Battleshop Iowa and downtown San Pedro. It runs every half hour from noon to 6 p.m.

The trail from the Nature Center to the labyrinth at Turtle Rock Park in Irvine passes through some breathtakingly serene wilderness.The 5-acre nature preserve offers a paved trail, garden, walking labyrinth and interpretive center.(Photo by Cathleen Falsani for the Register)

Turtle Rock Nature Center,  Irvine. Open Mondays-Saturdays closed Sundays.This five-acre nature preserve offers a paved trail, garden, a walking labyrinth and interpretive center.  Location: 1 Sunnyhill Drive, Irvine. 949-724-6738 or

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